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Sunday 22.09.2019 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris
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BNN summary of the week: government formation in Latvia, Brexit plans, and Latvia’s 100th birthday

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIf someone hoped to see Latvia compile a government before the national holiday, they are going to be disappointed – three parties have decided to exit government formation talks headed by New Conservative Party. NCP’s prime minister candidate Jānis Bordāns receive criticism for having too ambitious and expensive goals. NCP, on the other hand, says parties did not try to study the party’s offers.

Now it seems the national holiday will pass with talks from political parties, while President Raimonds Vējonis decides between nominating either Aldis Gobzems or Artis Pabriks as Latvia’s next prime minister.

The situation was tense abroad as well this week – criticizing Brexit agreement, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office lost four members, thereby increasing the number of ministers who have left the office in the past two years to twenty.

Still, the week in Latvia will conclude on a festive note, after all – the country celebrates 100 years since its foundation. This date marks a milestone for Latvia’s accomplishments and look towards the future. Congratulations!

PRIORITIES: EP says Moldova and Georgia should continue initiated reforms

Members of the European Parliament welcome the reforms Georgia has commenced. At the same time, Moldova was criticized for its worsened state of democracy and rule of law, as reported by EP press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.

The European Parliament approved two resolutions, in which implementation of associations agreements with Moldova and Georgia are covered, says Znotiņa-Znota.

MEPs welcome the reforms implemented by Georgia and the progress achieved with the association agreement. It is stressed that EU has become Georgia’s largest trade partners and the largest source of direct foreign investments.

This is why MEPs invite Georgian authorities to ensure stability and continuation of reforms to improve residents’ economic and social conditions. High levels of corruption in the country, problems with independence of the court justice system, human rights, use of media for political purposes and nature protection remain the chief concerns when it comes to Georgia, the resolution mentions.

MEPs also regretted seeing Russia continue occupying territories that belong to Georgia. MEPs once again voiced support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Full article here

ORDER: Latvian president gives parties holiday break to continue talks

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis calls off nomination of NCP candidate Jānis Bordāns to for government. Talks regarding the next prime minister candidate will continue after the state holiday.

«I expect parties to use this time to continue consultations and look for common ground,» said the president.

Immediately after the holiday Vējonis will meet with KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems and Attīstībai/Par! prime minister candidate Artis Pabriks to discuss with them their vision for the government formation process.

The order with which the president’s nomination of Bordāns is void will be signed by Vējonis on Thursday, 15 November.

The President’s Chancellery admits that Bordāns informed the president about the progress with the formation of the government on Wednesday, 14 November. He admitted no longer seeing any options to form the government and secure majority Saeima support.

Full article here

CORRUPTION: Lithuania’s corruption buster: firms donating to hospitals stand better chance in tenders

The majority of the winners of the tenders organised by major Lithuanian hospitals have expressed their gratitude to the health providers by making donations to them in the form of financial support.

The scheme spans at least 10 major Lithuanian hospitals, including the Santaros Clinics in Vilnius, the Kaunas Clinics in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, and the main hospitals in the towns of Panevėžys and Šiauliai. The corrupt dealings were revealed this by Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (STT) this week.

According to it, supporters of hospitals or related associations have a clear edge in winning public procurement tenders. There have been a number of cases of the kind, according to STT.

That Lithuanian hospitals favour certain suppliers has long been a topic of the rumour mill, and the media too, however only now STT, the corruption watchdog, is ringing alarm bells.

Asked about the timing, Renata Endružytė, the Communications head of the Service, told BNN that STT commences a probe only when it has gathered «sufficient evidence” of a corrupt activity.

«The Service has been gathering the evidence in form of different data for the last couples of years,» she accentuated.

Full article here

DESIRE: Latvian parties pick candidates to work in Saeima committees

Parties elected to the 13th Saeima have picked representatives to work in the parliament’s standing committees. Final decision will be made 20 November. Harmony may be represented by deputies Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Attīstībai/Par! has picked Artis Pabriks, and Union of Greens and Farmers has picked Uldis Augulis.

New Unity will be represented by Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ – Rihards Kols and Dace Melbārde, KPV LV – Didzis Šmits, and New Conservative Party – Linda Ozola.

For the National Security Committee Harmony has picked Valērijs Agešins, AP – Daniels Pavļuts, UGF – Māris Kučinskis, New Unity – Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, National Alliance – Ināra Mūrniece, KPV LV – Aldis Gobzems, and NCP – Juris Jurašs.

Harmony has also picked Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, Igors Pimenovs and Ļubov Švecova to represent the party in the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee, AP has picked Mārtiņš Bondars and Juris Pūce, UGf has picked Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Janīna Jalinska, New Unity – Edgars Rinkēvičs, National Alliance – Ilze Indriksone and Aleksandrs Kiršteins, KPV LV – Ramona Petraviča and Atis Zakatistovs, NCP – Gatis Eglītis and Reinis Znotiņš.

For the Legal Affairs Committee Harmony has picked Agešins and Jūlija Stepaņenko, AP – Vita Anda Tēraude, UGF – Gundars Daudze, New Unity – Lībiņa-Egnere, National Alliance – Ritvars Jansons, KPV LV – Ralfs Nemiro and Gobzems, NCP – Juta Strīķe and Jānis Bordāns.

Full article here

BREXIT: British government loses two more members; EU sets date for Brexit summit

In the UK government, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Northern Ireland’s junior minister have resigned in disagreement with the country’s draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, already passed by the government.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party said on Thursday Prime Minister Theresa May had no authority left after her Brexit minister Dominic Raab resigned.

French news agency AFP reported that Raab, who had been in place since July, resigned less than an hour after Shailesh Vara quit as a junior Northern Ireland minister over the draft accord.

British-Canadian news agency Reuters cited an announcement by the team of the British Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn as evaluating: «This is the twentieth minister to resign from Theresa May’s government in her two year premiership. Theresa May has no authority left and is clearly incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that commands even the support of her Cabinet – let alone parliament and the people of our country».

British public broadcaster BBC reported that head of the European Union Council, Donald Tusk stated on Thursday, that member states would have 48 hours to evaluate the draft agreement and their leaders would then convene on November 25 to give their final approval «if nothing extraordinary happens».

Full article here

CELEBRATION:

This year Latvia celebrates its one hundredth birthday. The Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in Riga City Second Theatre, which is now known as Latvia’s National Theatre, on 18 November 1918.

Residents and guests to the country, as well as people all over the world congratulate Latvia. Canada has even decided to light the Niagara Falls with colours of Latvia’s flag. The team at BNN also extends their heartfelt congratulations to every person in the world who finds Latvia dear!


Leave a reply

  1. Günther Tombal/The Netherlands says:

    I wish Latvia all the best for the future and hope it will bring happiness and
    prosperity to its people !

Week in Lithuania: awards to Jew savers presented, majority in Seimas restored, Foreigner centre criticised

Last week, the top events in Lithuanian politics and business were awards being presented to people, who saved Jews, the restoration of a majority in the legislature and the EBRD bank to pulling out from Lithuania's Šiaulių Bankas.

BNN summary of the week: cut support; concert hall dreams; infection in Sigulda

Everyone will have to tighten their belts in the budget formation process – ministries and residents. Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča announced plans to reduce unemployment benefit payment term from nine to eight months. She stressed that unemployment benefit is normally paid for four and a half months.

Competition Council permits sale of Bauskas Alus shares to CIDO Group

Latvia’s Competition Council has approved the sale of 100% of shares in SIA Bauskas Alus to CIDO Group under no special conditions. The deal is planned to be completed within a couple of months.

Rimšēvičs: banks have five billion in Bank of Latvia; country’s economy could benefit

Currently different commercial banks have roughly EUR 5 billion stored in the Bank of Latvia. This money could be «injected» into the country’s economy, as reported by the Latvian central bank’s governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs.

EU confident new Russia-Ukraine gas deal coming, Ukraine critical

In long-term gas deal talks between Russia and Ukraine about Russian gas transit through Ukraine held in Brussels, the European Union has seen positive signs a new deal could be reached, while Ukraine has expressed readiness stop transit if needed.

Bank of Latvia downgrades GDP growth outlook to 2.5% for 2019

The Bank of Latvia has downgraded GDP growth outlook from 2.9% to 2.5% in 2019 and from 3.1% to 2.6% in 2020, journalists were told by the Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs on 20 September.

August’s producer price level in industry down 0.1% in Latvia

Compared to July, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry dropped by 0.1 % in August 2019. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 0.2 %, but prices of exported products reduced by 0.3 %.

Baltic Restaurants Latvia breached hygiene standards in Sigulda’s kindergartens

Catering service provider Baltic Restaurants Latvia did not follow personal hygiene standards and committed numerous violations for cleanliness and disinfection activities at kindergartens Ieviņa and Saulīte in Sigulda.

Riga Central Market becomes more accessible for disabled people

After taking into account complaints from residents, Riga Central Market’s Gastronomy Pavilion has been made more accessible for people with motor function disabilities and more convenient for sellers, said Prof. Baiba Rozentāle, chairperson of Riga City Council’s Social Affairs Committee.

Estonia in Atomic Agency’s management to look for small-state solutions

After Estonia’s first election to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, its priorities in the body have been declared as development of technological solutions suitable for small countries for meeting climate objectives and the safe handling of radioactive waste.

Volume of imported petrol to Latvia down 6.7% in seven months

The volume of imported motor petrol to Latvia has declined 6.7% in the first seven months in 2019 when compared to the same period of 2018. The volume of imported diesel fuel has increased 0.1%.

Estonia criticises plan to link EU migrant relocation with financial penalties

As Italy is calling for the reshaping of the migration policy of the European Union, Estonian Interior Minister has voiced opposition to the plan and vowed not to take part in the first debate of the proposal about the centralised relocation of migrants.

RISEBA rector: when students «disappear» in the labour market and never return

The desire to become independent quickly and start earning money often outcompetes students’ desire to study, BNN was told by rector of Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration Irina Senņikova in a conversation about the unfinished education problem in Latvia.

Ryanair O’Leary’s option to earn EUR 99 million approved by 50.5% shareholders

In Europe’s largest airline Ryanair, shareholders have voted with 50.5% in favour of a new renumeration system for chief executive office Michael O’Leary. In case of very successful operations, it sets forth paying him 99 million euros in five years.

PVD: no more E. coli presence found at kindergartens in Sigulda

Investigation of the cause for E.coli spread in Sigulda has been performed to the maximum extent to prevent more infection cases, said Food and Veterinary Service’s director general Māris Balodis in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Friday, 20 September.

EU-South America trade deal unacceptable to Austria

The draft free trade agreement between the European Union and the largest trade bloc in South America, Mercosur, is set to be blocked by the Austrian government as legislators in Vienna believe it would have endangered rainforests and labour rights.

Weather to remain rainy and windy in Latvia

Cyclone activity will continue dictating weather conditions in Latvia on weekends. This means the sky will become clear only briefly, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Sigulda municipality turns to police over infection cases in kindergartens

Sigulda municipality has turned to State Police to investigate the link between last week’s uncovered intestinal infection cases, including four infection cases involving salmonella bacteria, as confirmed by the municipality.

Latvian Saeima supports tighter mutual cooperation with USA in rights protection

On Thursday, 19 September, Saeima supported in the second and final reading a legislative draft, approving the September 2004 agreement for tighter cooperation between the Republic of Latvia and the United States of America for protection of rights.

Candidate: FCMC team should learn to work substantially, not formally

The team of Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission should learn to work substantially, not formally, said the candidate for the post of chief of FCMC and Citadele Bank board member Santa Purgaile at a press –conference on Thursday, 19 September.

Lithuanian analysts on Russia-Belarus unification plan: actions louder than words

The announcement by Belarus and Russia this week of their entering into an economic confederacy by 2022 did not go unnoticed in Vilnius, which is courting the idea of recharging its dusty relations with Minsk. Is it just the Slavic countries’ new attempt to fulfil the endeavour?

Russia holds traditional holy man, who sought to drive out Putin

A Siberian shaman, who was on his way to Moscow, to «banish» Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been detained, Russian police has stated.

Costs for delivery of printed press to be compensated in Latvia

On Thursday, 19 September, Latvia’s Saeima supported in the second and final reading amendments to the Postal Law, which provide delivery of printed press under subscription in 2020 under the same rules and conditions that are in force now.

Saeima says state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector is justified

Latvia’s Saeima has approved the decision made by the Cabinet of Ministers on declaring a state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector.

Lithuanian PM’s lymhoma treatment met with solidarity by Health Minister

Lithuanian Health Minister has shaved his head expressing solidarity with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is being treated against cancer.